Saturday, June 12, 2010

Reviving Elvis

Hey all,I know  it's been a while since I was rappin at ya. I'll try to make up for that with some more posts soon. I've been trying to finish my other vintage cooler re-do, but I screwed it up and need to do some more work on that.

Anyway, SWMBO's Mom wanted me to drive out to see her since she was helping to prepare and serve food for her Ruritan club while they hosted an auction.  I haven't been to an auction in a long time, so I said sure.  On the way, I stopped at a perpetual yard sale.  This is a busy country road, and these folks have the plywood on 2x4 arrangement and tons of stuff in their yard.  I didn't find any must haves, but decided to rescue this poor fat Elvis.   Since I didn't buy anything at the auction (I'll do a second post on that in a few minutes), I'll fill you in on what I just did to give Elvis a few more years.

 I've seen a few of these metal frames lately, they have a light that you plug in.  This one was pretty badly tarnished, but I took a chance that I could clean this guy up and make him a little better.  I think the last one I saw had a picture of The Last Supper in the frame.

So I got this guy home and flipped the frame over.  The frame is brass or something close to brass.  And it had some metal tabs holding the picture in place.  I carefully bent those back and slide everything out.  It didn't have glass in front, instead there was a piece of badly yellowed acetate or some kind of thin plastic.  The image is very bright and printed on poster paper.  No wrinkles or problems with the poster.  Setting that stuff aside, I grabbed some cotton rags and a bottle of Brasso brass cleaner and went to work.  I spent about 45 minutes rubbing out as much tarnish as I could. I even grabbed an old toothbrush and wrapped it with some cotton and tried more Brasso in the tight areas. There's still tarnish some in the creases, but overall it cleaned up pretty nicely. The light cover is held onto the frame with a couple of metal tabs, so I bent those back and took it off to clean the brass and clean the frame under where the light cover fits. I checked the light and it works, so I just cleaned the dust off everything and put the light cover back on.  I left the plastic out and slide everything back together.

And here's the result.  

It's amazing what some polishing can do to bring back an awful piece of metal.  Elvis looks sleek and refreshed, and now he's hanging in a place of honor above the downstairs computer desk (in a room we really don't use much right now).  Now I'm going to have to keep an eye out for more of these frames.


  1. I wonder if you'll find a whole lot more of these kinda frames soon. As soon as I find one of something, I find another 2 or 3 in the following weeks.

  2. I know what you mean, it's some kind of universal convergence law!

  3. Oh Fat Elvis, I heart you! I have been wanting for years, a very large velvet Elvis without the Ebay price tag. I had to actually go to Mexico to get the little one I have. There is a tequila bar in my town called El Rey (the King) that has Elvis paintings everywhere. SOme of them are really fantastic. I'm glad you spuced up Fat Elvis, he needed it!

  4. I only wish this one was velvet. SWMBO went to Memphis for work a couple years ago, and my only request was a velvet elvis. She brought one home on the plane, bless her!!

    If I ever get my dream garage built, it will have plenty of wall space for velvet paintings, paint by number paintings, and everything kitschy and car related.

  5. What is the name of that picture do you know and do you any idea its worth or do you think it is worth anything just wondering it looks nice please email me back with subject Elvis so I will open it at thanks

    1. Hi,
      If you search ebay for combinations of vintage light metal picture frame you sometimes find the frames, usually with religious pictures. I have one with an outdoor theme picturing a deer. I think the Elvis photo is not original to this frame. I plan to keep this one.